Home / World / English News / N.S. wildfires: Some evacuations lifted in Halifax; Shelburne blaze remains out of control

N.S. wildfires: Some evacuations lifted in Halifax; Shelburne blaze remains out of control

Some people who were forced to evacuate due to a wildfire in the Halifax area can return home as some areas begin to reopen after the devastation.

The wildfire was brought under control over the weekend, thanks to the efforts of dozens of firefighters and some much-needed rainfall. As of Sunday, the fire measured at 950 hectares and was not expected to spread.

The fire, which broke out last Sunday, destroyed about 200 buildings, including 150 homes, and forced the evacuation of more than 16,400 people.

But more and more people are now able to return home. On Sunday night, evacuation orders were lifted in the Glen Arbour area, as well as in the area east of Stillwater Lake.

An updated evacuation map shows where evacuation orders have been lifted so far, as well as the areas where evacuation orders will be lifted in the future.

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In a release Monday, the municipality said the Canada Games Centre is returning to regular programming and is no longer acting as an evacuation centre. It said over the last several days, residents in the area of significant impact have spoken with municipal staff about the status of their property, and have been able to view photos.

While municipal staff will no longer be at the centre to talk about properties, the municipality said it will reassess the need for this support in the coming days, as the phased approach to lifting evacuation orders continues and more residents return to their communities.

It also said insurance companies and their representatives will be available at the Canada Games Centre Monday until 4 p.m.

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Shelburne fire out of control

While a province-wide burn ban remains in effect, beginning Monday morning, the province is lifting its ban on travel and activity in woods, except in areas where evacuation orders are in place, and in Shelburne County — where the largest fire on record in the province continues to burn.

As of Sunday afternoon, the wildfire at Barrington Lake in Shelburne County covered 250 square kilometres . Since it began, the fire destroyed at least 50 homes and cottages and forced more than half of the county’s residents to evacuate.

Firefighting efforts Sunday included about 114 firefighters from Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and more than 40 volunteer and municipal firefighters, as well as four helicopters and four water bombers from Montana.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Shelburne County East Emergency Management said it was “cautiously optimistic” due to the rainy weather.

“This continues to be a large-scale, coordinated operation that includes collaboration at all levels of government,” it said. “The additional resources we have received throughout this operation have been crucial in the fire suppression efforts and in keeping our communities safe.”

“Thank you to the firefighters, contractors, businesses, community members, and community organizations locally and internationally for everything you have done this week and continue to do,” the post continued.

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“We all must continue to support one another and follow directives to keep everyone safe.”

The post said the province is working to assess the status of properties in the impacted areas, and will communicate with property owners as soon as there is more information. This will happen on Tuesday at the earliest.

“We know residents are anxious for updates on their properties,” it said. “Assessments take time and need to be done with safety as a top priority.”

It said the recovery phase is being planned, and six-member recovery task force from Alberta will help support recovery measures on Monday.

The evacuation map for Shelburne County, as of Saturday evening.

Shelburne EMO

Some evacuation orders were lifted in Shelburne Saturday afternoon for Lake Road and Sandy Point through to Jordan Branch Road.

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“All other evacuation orders remain in place,” Shelburne County East Emergency Management said. “All residents, including those returning home today, should continue to monitor alerts and be prepared to evacuate.”

Highway 103 from exits 27 and 30, between Shelburne and Barrington, remains closed due to the fires. The province said it’s unclear when it will reopen.

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